The 12 Best Messenger Bags of 2022

Store your stuff hands free and out of the way

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No matter how you get around—and where you’re going—you’re probably looking for streamlined, organized, and attractive ways to tote your gear. A messenger bag can be an ideal solution, crossing the body and leaving the hands free to swipe a subway ticket, carry a coffee, or clutch a boarding pass while striding through an airport terminal. We searched the marketplace for the best messenger bags for traveling, commuting, toting just the essentials, and keeping your laptop and tech tools safe and organized. Our picks include options that prioritize style and functionality, and at a range of price points from budget to splurge worthy.

Whatever your cargo needs, these are the best messenger bags available.

The Rundown

Best Overall: Timbuk2 Classic Messenger Bag at Amazon

You can't go wrong with this classic messenger bag from an iconic brand.

Best Budget: Sweetbriar Classic Messenger Bag at Amazon

This highly reviewed bag comes in at a supremely wallet-friendly price point.

Best for Laptops: Kate Spade Tech Oxford Field Messenger at Kate Spade

Dress up your laptop in this elegant, work-appropriate carrying case.

Best Leather: Coach Metropolitan Portfolio at Amazon

Coach's leather bag has a worn waxed finish that will evolve with a patina that makes it all your own.

Best Eco-Friendly: Everlane The Micro Form Bag at Everlane

Ethical brand Everlane makes the ultimate lightweight mini bag to hold your essentials.

Best for Organization: Travelon Anti-Theft Messenger Bag at Amazon

Features organizer slots for credit cards and pockets for travel documents.

Best for Commuting: Samsonite Leather Flap-Over Messenger Bag at Amazon

Can do double duty as a briefcase and an organizer under the front flap keeps essentials accesible.

Best for Bikers: Chrome Industries Citizen Messenger Bag at Amazon

Perfect for biking, this bag has compression straps to secure cargo and reflective details for visibility.

Best for the Gym: Lululemon All Night Festival Bag at Amazon

Lululemon’s bag is water repellant and easy to wipe clean, so it’s a great choice for the gym.

Best Style: Dagne Dover Ryan Laptop Bag at Dagne Dover

Has a luggage handle sleeve, making this stylish messenger bag great for travel as well as everyday use.

Best Overall: Timbuk2 Classic Messenger Bag

Timbuk2 Classic Messenger Bag

 Courtesy of Amazon

Timbuk2 is the iconic messenger bag maker—and this is its classic bag. Designed in San Francisco more than three decades ago, this bag has a shoulder strap with a curved mesh pad for added comfort. Double-loop buckles easily adjust to banish dangling straps, and there’s an easy-to-grab handle. Inside, there’s a waterproof liner, and corner wings keep water out. An internal water bottle pocket keeps it secure, and multiple pockets maximize organization potential and balance out the weight. This messenger bag is available in multiple sizes, from extra small to large.

Best Budget: Sweetbriar Classic Messenger Bag

Sweetbriar Classic Messenger Bag

 Courtesy of Amazon

This highly reviewed bag comes in at a supremely wallet-friendly price point and has a range of attractive features. The 100 percent cotton canvas bag weighs just over a pound and easily fits laptops up to 15 inches. It has a flap with velcro closure and roomy pockets—including a spacious main compartment, front pockets, and side pockets large enough to accommodate water bottles. An interior zippered pouch holds essentials. There's a hand-carrying handle in the back, and a padded, adjustable shoulder strap.

Best for Laptops: Kate Spade Tech Oxford Field Messenger

Kate Spade messenger bag

Courtesy of Kate Spade 

This durable bag dresses up your laptop in an elegant, work-appropriate carrying case. The material is inspired by traditional suit fabrics, so it has a professional, elevated look. Water resistant and streamlined, this bag has an internal neoprene sleeve for your laptop and holds all the other workday essentials too. Leather details on the strap and bottom add to its sophisticated aesthetic.

Best Leather: Coach Metropolitan Portfolio

Coach Metropolitan Portfolio
Courtesy of Coach

Coach's leather bag is streamlined, stylish, and totally versatile—so it’s bound to become your new go-to. It has a few interior pockets and an adjustable (and removable) strap, and a sleek carrying handle so you can use this as a portfolio bag, too. The bag has a pebbled finish that will evolve with a patina that makes it all your own; Coach also offers monogramming to further personalize your look.

Best Eco-Friendly: Everlane The Micro Form Bag

Everlane micro bag

Courtesy of Everlane

Everlane, which partners with ethical factories around the world, makes the ultimate lightweight mini bag to hold only the essentials in style. Handcrafted from Italian leather, the bag has a button-snap closure, an adjustable strap, and a structured and elegant look. For its compact profile, it can still hold a phone, keys, wallet, and lip gloss for touchups on the go.

Best for Organization: Travelon Anti-Theft Messenger Bag

Travelon Anti-Theft Messenger Bag

 Courtesy of Travelon

With over 3,000 five-star reivews, this fan-favorite bag is beloved for its form and function. Billed as a secure bag to keep your valuables close and prevent theft, Tumi's messenger bag features slash-proof construction and an adjustable, cut-proof shoulder strap. Its large main compartment has organizational pockets as well as a locking zipper. The organizer includes slots for credit cards and pockets for travel documents or other essentials. There’s also a zippered expansion pocket perfect for a water bottle.

Best for Commuting: Samsonite Leather Flap-Over Messenger Bag

Samsonite Leather Flap-Over Messenger Bag

 Courtesy of Samsonite

This flap-over leather bag from Samsonite is a total classic for commuting to and from work. It has a timelessly professional look and can do double duty as a briefcase. An organizer under the front flap keeps essentials at the ready and there’s a dedicated pocket for an iPad or tablet. A large compartment at the rear provides substantial room for files and a removable compartment stores a mobile phone. This bag fits laptops up to 15 inches.

Best for Bikers: Chrome Industries Citizen Messenger Bag

This Chrome Industries medium-sized messenger bag is made to be on the move. Compression straps secure cargo and have reflective details for visibility while biking. There's also a weatherproof tarp liner with a nylon shell for riding in the elements. It features a quick-release seatbelt buckle with a bottle opener, and a floating bucket liner has separate compartments for wet and dry. You don't have to worry about using this while riding because the bag is guaranteed for life.

Best for the Gym: Lululemon All Night Festival Bag

Lululemon All Night Festival Bag

 Courtesy of Lululemon

Lululemon’s bag is water repellant and easy to wipe clean, so it’s a great choice for a gym bag. But it’s also sleek and versatile to carry your stuff every day. An interior pocket stores your gym pass, and there’s a secure front pocket as well. Wide openings make it easy to find headphones or other bulky objects. Wear the removable strap over your shoulder or as a crossbody.

Best Style: Dagne Dover Ryan Laptop Bag

Dagne Dover Ryan Laptop Bag

 Courtesy of Dagne Dover

Dagne Dover is known for its stylish, versatile bags that deliver major functionality, too. The Ryan neoprene bag has a laptop sleeve with an elastic closure, as well as air mesh and zipper pockets on the inside, zipper pockets on the outside, and a hidden spot in the back for your mobile phone or other accessories. There’s also a key leash so you won't have to go digging. And there’s a luggage handle sleeve, making this messenger bag great for travel as well as everyday use. Choose between six beautiful colors.

Most Versatile: Lands' End Waxed Canvas Messenger Bag

Lands' End Waxed Canvas Messenger Bag

 Courtesy of Lands' End

This bag is ultra versatile—and durable—so you can pretty much expect to wear it forever. The bag’s exterior is made of waxed cotton canvas that resists water and stands up well to wear. Inside, water-repellent cotton lines three slit pockets and one zippered pocket so you can organize any gear with ease. There's also a padded laptop sleeve with a hook-and-loop closure for secure transport.

Best Splurge: Rag & Bone Small Field Messenger Crossbody

Rag & Bone Bag

Courtesy of Zappos

If you want to invest in a bag that will endure—and garner major compliments—Rag & Bone’s small messenger crossbody is a splurge-worthy pick. The compact bag has a leather shoulder strap, flap closure with magnetic snap, and two-way top zip pocket along with a decorative zipper pull with chic dangling fringe. It has antique brass hardware and a slip pocket on the outside for a cool overall look.

Final Verdict

Our top pick is Timbuk2's Classic Messenger Bag (view at Amazon), which features a water-resistant construction, an internal water bottle pocket, and multiple pockets that distribute the bag's weight evenly. We also love that it's available in multiple sizes and price points to accommodate different needs.

What to Look for in Messenger Bags

Material

You can purchase messenger bags made of leather, faux leather, canvas or nylon, among many other materials. When trying to decide what messenger bag is right for you, take its material into consideration. Leather messenger bags will typically be more expensive and less waterproof, but might look more polished. Canvas bags, on the other hand, will be cheaper, more waterproof and thus, easier to clean as well. Ask yourself where you'll be bringing the bag so you can ensure its durability.

Size

Are you seeking a compact, lightweight bag? Or are you looking for a larger bag you can cram with everything you need for a day at the office? Make sure to check the dimensions of any messenger bags you're looking at, especially if you need to fit in your laptop. The bag's weight is another factor to consider, as smaller bags may still be weightier than you'd prefer.

Style

Some messenger bags will only have a fixed, cross-body shoulder strap, while others may be equipped with handles or additional straps. Think about what you'll be using your messenger bag for when deciding on the bag's style and what features you can't go without.

Storage

Different messenger bags will have different combinations of pockets or slots to keep your items organized. If you don't mind digging through your bag to find your phone charger, the number and size of compartments might not matter to you. But if you want a sleeve for your laptop, a spot for your water bottle and a pocket to store your pens, seek out a messenger bag that is more divided. Be sure to read about the bag's design before buying so that it fits your needs.

Frequently Asked Questions
  • How should I clean my messenger bag?

    You can soak (excluding leather) or wet the bag with warm water and gently scrub with soap, like a detergent or standard dish soap. You might use a sponge or soft-bristle brush. Typically, you should avoid using a washing machine and dryer to ensure that the padding of your bag isn't damaged. As always, check the product's tags or the retailer's website for suggestions.

  • How can I waterproof my messenger bag?

    Of course, if waterproofing is a priority, you should opt for a bag designed to be waterproof in the first place. However, you might be able waterproof a bag that isn't explicitly waterproof with a standard waterproofing spray. If your bag is leather, consider applying a specialized wax. That being said, you should make sure that the spray or wax won't do any damage to the bag's material. Also keep in mind that the treatment may not be perfectly effective, so you should be cautious with water nonetheless.

  • Are messenger bags professional?

    It depends. Messenger bags can be professional depending on your field of work and the bag's style, especially in comparison with a standard backpack. Messenger bags made of leather or faux leather may have a sleeker look than bags made of synthetic materials. Also take into account your workplace's dress code when deciding whether a messenger bag is right for you and what style is appropriate. Consider a briefcase over a messenger bag in a very corporate setting.

Why Trust TripSavvy

Alesandra Dubin is an LA-based lifestyle writer and editor. As a veteran digital journalist, she’s covered travel, food, parenting, and more for over 15 years. She began writing for TripSavvy in January 2020.

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